In this blog series I am telling the stories of 100 of my favorite images, how I came to be there, what it was like and why I still enjoy the image. For image 3 of the series we are exploring an image from Bogey Hole Ocean Baths at Newcastle, New South Wales.
16 December 2005, Bogey Hole Ocean Baths, Newcastle, NSW Australia.
Bogey Hole was the first ocean baths built in Australia, it was carved out of the rock using convict labour for the express use of an Army Major who commanded the Newcastle barracks at the time. If only military officers could have such perks now! This place is nestled tightly against a cliff, a fairly steep set of stairs takes you down to the baths but only if the swell allows. I have been here a number of times and sometimes I have not been able to get off the stairs due to waves pounding all over the baths, at other times the waves will not break over the rocks and into the baths. After I first visited I knew that I needed an image that showed the interaction of the sea and the baths, the patterns that the baths created in the water and how the environment has caused the baths to erode back into the sea. Getting this image required persistence, I had to visit a number of times and take note of the tide and the swell relative to how much water was flowing into the baths. To much tide and swell and the baths were flooded, too little and the baths were still. Then, I wanted the right conditions to coincide with sunrise or sunset.
Although it was grey outside, the right tide aligned with sunset so I made my way out early. In December there can be quite a few swimmers, so the gray weather might reduce the number of other people there limited the images I could take. I arrived to find that I had the place to myself but with flat light there was very few compositions. After trying a few compositions I put my camera in this spot and I sat behind it waiting patiently for the right light and the best pattern in the water. Sunset colours never materialised but I was given nice flat light to highlight the detail in the rocks and the water. I took hundreds of images and spent hours selecting the single image that best depicted the scene as I visualised it.
I like how this image shows that water will always find a way back to the ocean, as you scan the different areas of the image you can see the paths drawn by the water in its very short journey back to the ocean. In some places it flows straight back in and in others it swirls, taking a slightly longer path. The dynamic flow of the water is juxtaposed against the decaying railings. The water is stronger than the steel.
I haven't been back to Bogey Hole in over 10 years and I understand that the council has installed new stairs and railings, if you have been there recently has the place lost some of its charm?
Creating fine prints is my favorite part of photography, sharing the ultimate expression of an image with someone who will cherish it for years to come brings me great satisfaction. If you would like to purchase a print please contact me, prints from this series start at just $100.